Acquisitions is an extremely complex area of government. The regulations that dictate acquisitions requirements, FAR, is well over 1,000 pages of regulations. The pure length of this document is impressive, equally impressive is the complexity of FAR. Understanding how FAR operates and impacts the acquisition process is one of the many challenges facing acquisition professionals.
Navigating FAR is a challenge – one that I am sure many acquisitions professionals can relate too. With that being said, there are many other challenges facing acquisitions professionals. The upside to all these challenges is that the web is flooded with a lot of great resources for acquisition professionals.
I recently spent some time on acquisition.gov and found a long listing of best practices for contract administration. I thought I would share some of the best practices, and then look to the community for some of your insights. What was interesting was that acquisition.gov broke out of concerns and then described some best practices, I’ve structured them in a similar fashion here.
Inadequate Surveillance and Monitoring of Contracts
I can imagine that this must be an enormous challenge for contract officers. With the complexity of each contract and many moving parts, having the right measures in place to monitor a contract is critical. By having a plan and policy in place, time and resources will be saved. The best practices recommended here were:
- Develop a contract administration plan
- Specify the outputs of the statement of work are
- Describe the methodology to conduct inspections.
The best practices section also recommends the following:
The contract administration plan should contain a quality assurance (QA) surveillance plan as a subpart. Development of a plan is important since it provides a systematic structured method for the COTR to evaluate services and products that contractors are required to furnish. The QA plan should focus on the quality of the product delivered by the contractor and not on the steps taken or procedures used to provide that product. It includes appropriate use of pre-planned inspections, validation of complaints and random unscheduled inspections.
Lack of Incentives
The second section I wanted to share was how to manage a lack of incentives in a contact. This section recommended considering to provide incentives to the COTR based on a variety of criteria. Some examples are:
- Amount of savings achieved
- Minimum Technical Contract Changes
- Customer Satisfaction
- Contract administration tied to performance evaluation
- Promote success
To see a full listing of best practices, check out acquisition central.
What are some of your insights? What mechanisms do you have in place for surveillance and monitoring? What kinds of incentives have you used and how are the negotiated into the contract?
This post is brought to you by the GovLoop Acquisition Council. The mission of this council is to provide you with information and resources to help improve government. Visit the GovLoop Acquisition Council to learn more.